I want to preface the words that follow, to say there is a righteous judgment we can have, where we call sin what it is, and we can separate right from wrong. To have righteous judgment, there must be righteous motives. The goal for judgment reveals the intention. As the church, we should be the ambassadors of God’s grace and mercy and not the self-elected judges of the law.
The words of the devil always condemn, whereas the words of the Lord will convict. One is meant to destroy you, the other to change you.
There exists too much unrighteous judgment in our churches today. Many Christians love to judge people who sin differently than themselves. Some Christians love to judge others down that they themselves might appear a little bit higher.
Pride reveals pride, and sin reveals sin. The thing we see so wrong in another is often the very thing that is in us. “…When you judge others, you condemn yourselves, because you are guilty of doing the very same things” (Romans 2:1 CEV).
We will be judged by how we treat others, not how they treat us. “There is only one true Lawgiver and Judge, the One who has the power to save and destroy—so who do you think you are to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12 TPT).
What you do determines what God does. He is merciful to the merciful. He is forgiving to the forgiving. He judges you with your own judgment. You drink the cup you pour for yourself. “Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” (Matthew 7:1-2 ERV).
Early on in my faith, my heart was saved by Christ, but I had not yet been delivered from all my sin. I had an addiction to smoking and thought the only way I might overcome it was to be taken out of this world. It is an incredibly addictive substance. As a young Christian, I was horrified that I might be found out as it seems many in the church treat this addiction as if it were an unpardonable sin. Yet these same people live unhealthy lives in a hundred other ways.
Let us desire to be as merciful to others as we would hope for God to be merciful towards us. King David said, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful…” (2 Samuel 22:26 NKJV).
The reason we focus so much on other people’s sins is so we don’t have to dwell upon our own.
The heart you have towards others is the same heart that will judge you. The Lord Jesus taught, “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NLT).
I will never forget one night at my church when a pastor and a teacher figured out I was a smoker. They were at the other side of the classroom, and they were talking about me in a whisper and then looking over at me. There is nothing worse in life than having people look down at you as if you were something less than them. All I felt was shame.
Do not worry what others say about you, but what you say about them. “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.” (James 2:13 NKJV).
The mercy you show is the mercy you will receive. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:37 NKJV).
Judging others is like spitting in the wind, whatever you spit out comes right back on you. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 NLT).
One time I was listening to a message by a theologian I greatly admired named R.C. Sproul. He spoke about how he too, early on in his faith journey, had been addicted to smoking. He spoke of how so many condemned him and the shame he had. I could hardly believe my ears. I am so glad for people like R.C. Sproul, who humbly recount their own struggles in the faith. Christian, we all have struggles.
Stop confessing the sins of others, and just confess your own. “And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:3 NKJV).
Your criticism of others reveals more about you than them. “You have no right to criticize your brother or look down on him. Remember, each of us will stand personally before the Judgment Seat of God” (Romans 14:10 TLB).
Never fear that men would judge you wrongly, but that God will judge you rightly. “Therefore, each one must answer for himself and give a personal account of his own life before God” (Romans 14:12 TPT).
I eventually got delivered from smoking. But I will never forget the shaming and judgment from so many Christians, including many leaders. This shaming is one of the greatest sins that permeates our churches today. This shame-based Christianity is a condemnation of sinners. Instead, we should be loving them as they are and helping them to be all that God desires for them to become.
Go ahead and point your finger, but do so at that wretched man or woman who looks back at you from the mirror each morning. “Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous” (Psalm 143:2 NKJV).
Live your life with others such that you do not judge them for where they are wrong, but pray for them that God would make them right.
Child of God, in whatever sin you are still carrying, know this, God loves you. Get near to Him and He will help you to overcome. Don’t be ashamed, but be encouraged, because the grace of God is greater than the failures of man.
Blessings to you,